In early type 2 diabetes, liraglutide significantly boosted beta-cell function after 48 weeks of therapy, according to study results published in Diabetes Care. Researchers noted, however, that improvements were limited.
The effects of medication on beta-cell function in type 2 diabetes are difficult to evaluate because clinicians are unable to determine the actual baseline degree of beta-cell dysfunction independent of the reversible dysfunction induced by glucotoxicity, the researchers wrote.
To combat this problem, the researchers used short-term intensive insulin therapy to eliminate glucotoxicity before treatment. They sought to assess liraglutide’s impact on beta-cell preservation.
For the double blind, placebo-controlled LIBRA trial, the researchers randomly assigned 51 patients who had type 2 diabetes for 2.6 years and an HbA1c of 6.8%to daily subcutaneous liraglutide or placebo after completion of 4 weeks of intensive insulin therapy.
Beta-cell function was assessed every 12 weeks using the Insulin Secretion-Sensitivity Index-2 (ISSI-2) on oral glucose tolerance test.
Patients taking liraglutide exhibited higher baseline-adjusted ISSI-2 and lower baseline-adjusted HbA1c at 48 weeks, as compared with those taking placebo (339.8 vs. 229.3 and 6.2% vs. 6.6%, respectively).
HbA1c was also 6.0% or less in more than 50% of the liraglutide group at quarterly assessments. Further, their glucose tolerance was in the nondiabetic range, the researchers reported.
Incidence of hypoglycemia did not differ between those taking liraglutide and those taking placebo.
However, the researchers evaluated patients 2 weeks after cessation of therapy and reported that liraglutide’s favorable impact on ISSI-2, as compared with placebo, was lost (191.9 vs. 238.1).
In an effort to learn more about whether liraglutide could improve beta-cell function in patients with type 2 diabetes, researchers conducted a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 51 patients. They administered liraglutide or placebo and evaluated patients using the Insulin Sensitivity-Secretion Index-2 (ISSI-2).
Results revealed that liraglutide did have an impact on beta-cell function in this patient population.